FictionForest

Chapter 8 – The foolish Owl and the Wise Donkey

L. Frank BaumOct 04, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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On they went, and half an hour’s steady walking
brought them to a house somewhat better than the
two they had already passed. It stood close to the
roadside and over the door was a sign that read:
“Miss Foolish Owl and Mr. Wise Donkey: Public
Advisers.”

When Ojo read this sign aloud Scraps said
laughingly: “Well, here is a place to get all the
advice we want, maybe more than we need. Let’s go
in.”

The boy knocked at the door.

“Come in!” called a deep bass voice.

So they opened the door and entered the house,
where a little light-brown donkey, dressed in a
blue apron and a blue cap, was engaged in dusting
the furniture with a blue cloth. On a shelf over
the window sat a great blue owl with a blue
sunbonnet on her head, blinking her big round
eyes at the visitors.

“Good morning,” said the donkey, in his deep
voice, which seemed bigger than he was. “Did
you come to us for advice?”

“Why, we came, anyhow,” replied Scraps, “and now
we are here we may as well have some advice. It’s
free, isn’t it?”

“Certainly,” said the donkey. “Advice doesn’t
cost anything–unless you follow it. Permit me to
say, by the way, that you are the queerest lot of
travelers that ever came to my shop. Judging you
merely by appearances, I think you’d better talk
to the Foolish Owl yonder.”

They turned to look at the bird, which fluttered
its wings and stared back at them with its big
eyes.

“Hoot-ti-toot-ti-toot!” cried the owl.

“Fiddle-cum-foo,
Howdy-do?
Riddle-cum, tiddle-cum,
Too-ra-la-loo!”

“That beats your poetry, Scraps,” said Ojo.

“It’s just nonsense!” declared the Glass Cat.

“But it’s good advice for the foolish,” said
the donkey, admiringly. “Listen to my partner,
and you can’t go wrong.

Said the owl in a grumbling voice:

“Patchwork Girl has come to life;
No one’s sweetheart, no one’s wife;
Lacking sense and loving fun,
She’ll be snubbed by everyone.”

“Quite a compliment! Quite a compliment, I
declare,” exclaimed the donkey, turning to look at
Scraps. “You are certainly a wonder, my dear, and
I fancy you’d make a splendid pincushion. If you
belonged to me, I’d wear smoked glasses when I
looked at you.”

“Why?” asked the Patchwork Girl.

“Because you are so gay and gaudy.”

“It is my beauty that dazzles you,” she
asserted. “You Munchkin people all strut around in
your stupid blue color, while I–”

“You are wrong in calling me a Munchkin,”
interrupted the donkey, “for I was born in the
Land of Mo and came to visit the Land of Oz
on the day it was shut off from all the rest of
the world. So here I am obliged to stay, and I
confess it is a very pleasant country to live in.”

“Hoot-ti-toot!” cried the owl;

“Ojo’s searching for a charm,
‘Cause Unc Nunkie’s come to harm.
Charms are scarce; they’re hard to get;
Ojo’s got a job, you bet!”

“Is the owl so very foolish?” asked the boy.

“Extremely so,” replied the donkey. “Notice what
vulgar expressions she uses. But I admire the owl
for the reason that she is positively foolish.
Owls are supposed to be so very wise, generally,
that a foolish one is unusual, and you perhaps
know that anything or anyone unusual is sure to be
interesting to the wise.”

The owl flapped its wings again, muttering
these words:

“It’s hard to be a glassy cat–
No cat can be more hard than that;
She’s so transparent, every act
Is clear to us, and that’s a fact.”

“Have you noticed my pink brains?” inquired
Bungle, proudly. “You can see ’em work.”

“Not in the daytime,” said the donkey. “She
can’t see very well by day, poor thing. But her
advice is excellent. I advise you all to follow it.”

“The owl hasn’t given us any advice, as yet,”
the boy declared.

“No? Then what do you call all those sweet
poems?”

“Just foolishness,” replied Ojo. “Scraps does
the same thing.”

“Foolishness! Of course! To be sure! The Foolish
Owl must be foolish or she wouldn’t be the Foolish
Owl. You are very complimentary to my partner,
indeed,” asserted the donkey, rubbing his front
hoofs together as if highly pleased.

“The sign says that you are wise,” remarked
Scraps to the donkey. “I wish you would prove it.”

“With great pleasure,” returned the beast.
“Put me to the test, my dear Patches, and I’ll
prove my wisdom in the wink of an eye.

“What is the best way to get to the Emerald
City?” asked Ojo.

“Walk,” said the donkey.

“I know; but what road shall I take?” was the
boy’s next question.

“The road of yellow bricks, of course. It leads
directly to the Emerald City.”

“And how shall we find the road of yellow
bricks?”

“By keeping along the path you have been
following. You’ll come to the yellow bricks pretty
soon, and you’ll know them when you see them
because they’re the only yellow things in the
blue country.”

“Thank you,” said the boy. “At last you have
told me something.”

“Is that the extent of your wisdom?” asked
Scraps.

“No,” replied the donkey; “I know many
other things, but they wouldn’t interest you.
So I’ll give you a last word of advice: move on,
for the sooner you do that the sooner you’ll
get to the Emerald City of Oz.”

“Hoot-ti-toot-ti-toot-ti-too!” screeched the owl;

“Off you go! fast or slow,
Where you’re going you don’t know.
Patches, Bungle, Muchkin lad,
Facing fortunes good and bad,
Meeting dangers grave and sad,
Sometimes worried, sometimes glad–
Where you’re going you don’t know,
Nor do I, but off you go!”

“Sounds like a hint, to me,” said the Patchwork Girl.

“Then let’s take it and go,” replied Ojo.

They said good-bye to the Wise Donkey and the
Foolish Owl and at once resumed their journey.

 

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